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5.0 out of 5 stars
5.0 out of 5 stars

on 28 September 2005
ASH GRUNWALD Live At The Corner Hotel
Head Records. 13 tracks.
At a time where everyone I talk to (present) is making disparaging comments about the lack of "real" Blues on show at Colne R&B 2005, it seems rather fitting I should receive this live collection for review (dating back to 2004... who says today's postal service is dire!?). Harking back to the true originators in the genre (Robert Johnson, Son House, Blind Willie Johnson...) Ash's songs, voice and playing is a breath of fresh air for an overly diluted genre (and I'm an advocate for alternative/progressive Blues!). For all the respect Ash affords the genre this is far more than merely derivative... for all its traditional/"heard it all before" connotations this remains a personal and individual collection of effortlessly moving Blues songs. Like Derrin Nauendorf, Ash's Australian nationality is apparent in every song, which gives his music a fairly unique sound and prevents numbers like 'Hey Baby' from sounding as dated as they possibly should. Of the 13 tracks, 7 are originals with the remaining being made up of Robert Johnson, Howlin' Wolf and Tom Waits (2 a-piece) covers (the Johnson and Wolf songs in particular fit perfectly with Ash's style/originals). Ash's meandering live version of 'Going Out West' puts Gomez's take, also reviewed this issue (and a stand-out rendition in itself!) firmly in the shade. Special note must be made of Ian Callard's ever-present, wondrous harmonica, which threatens to steal the show (but not quite!). This is an artist I must experience live on this evidence... UK Blues Festivals please take note!
Darren Howells
Blues Matters!
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